Building Your Paid Ads Strategy
SEO Rocket Webinar Series
Don’t leave ad money on the table! Learn how to develop an effective paid ads strategy that aligns with your marketing budget and business goals!
See what paid advertising platforms such as Google Ads, Microsoft Ads (formerly Bing Ads), and popular Social Media Advertising networks (Facebook, Linkedin) have to offer your business. Discover what assets you already have to use and build upon to achieve paid advertising success (=cost effectiveness!).
If you are considering delving into paid search or have an active campaign up and running now, you will want to hear this info rich strategy session.
Read the Video Transcription here
Building Your Paid Ads Strategy
Angela McAfee and Sean Browne of SEO Rocket
Angela McAfee: Hi everyone, as people are beginning to log on and get here… Looks like some of you are still starting to log on. I just wanted to go ahead and get started. I’m Angela with SEO Rocket. I wanted to go ahead and start doing some little housekeeping. Happy Halloween week everyone!
So, I’m gonna get out my witch’s broom and do the housekeeping here. Wanted to let you all know that you are joining in what they call listen only mode, which means I can’t hear you. Hopefully you can hear me.
But, we still want you guys to communicate with us and ask us questions because we are saving time at the end of our presentation today to answer your questions. Because, we know you tend to have a lot of them. So please, there’s a little chat box that says “Questions” I believe in your dashboard. So please, as you have a question throughout our presentation today, be happy to type it in and let us know what questions you may have about your business and about paid ads.
Also, if you have any commentary on marketing topics that you’d like to hear more about we certainly love hearing about those ’cause they help us plan our future webinars. So please feel free to do that.
And, then of course, stick around until the end of our presentation so that you can actually hear your questions answered OK?
Alright, it looks like we’re mostly, or a good bit of you are logged on. So I’m gonna go ahead and get started. It’s after 11 so I’ll go ahead and get started for everyone.
Alright, building your digital paid ads strategy – paid ads. This is a topic that we very often get asked about. It’s very mysterious. People will often say “Oh I tried it and didn’t work. I wasted my money. Or, I tried it and it works great.” Or. “My competitors are doing it? How do I get started?”.
But, at the same time there are a lot of mysteries there. So, you know how do we get started? What do we need to do to reach the best audience and reach them effectively? Those questions get asked a lot. You know, would do you handle? What do we handle? What’s involved etc.?
So, lucky us! We have Sean with us today. Sean Brown is our Paid Search Specialist here at SEO Rocket, and he’s been with us since 2015. He holds multiple certifications from Google in paid ads and Analytics. Also, from a company called SEM Rush, which is a company in our industry. They have multiple certification programs in paid search and he has all of those. We’ve got a list!
Anyway, Sean as you can see here, Sean is our “go to” guy for all things paid search. He’s gonna walk us through the many steps that he takes when he’s considering a strategy and putting together a plan for businesses. OK, he’s gonna clean up our mysteries today for you and for us. So we can go forth and conquer this paid ad strategy thing.
Alright, I’m gonna go ahead. Let’s go ahead and get started. ’cause we have a lot to cover.
In order to get started, I’m gonna take our cameras down so you won’t be distracted by our smiling faces. You can focus on the presentation. OK, so we’ll be back later – trust me – to answer your questions.
OK, taking our cameras down now.
Angela McAfee – Preparing to Market
Angela McAfee: So very quickly, I wanna go through a couple of the foundational items that we look at when we’re putting any marketing strategy together for our clients.
First, let’s talk about this. Some of you may have seen this on our webinar last week, or last month I meant. But, I’m gonna quickly go through them because not everyone has heard them.
Part of building any marketing strategy begins with all these foundational steps. This is our sort of pre- launch checklist, OK?
Number one, what is your “Need”? What is it that you want your site to do or do more of?
Now think measurably here. Phone calls, contact form submissions, landing page traffic, etc. conversions. What a conversion means for you. Think of that.
Next, let’s build those Needs into Goals. And by that, let’s make it a SMART goal.
And by SMART, I mean smart S “specific”. What would you want to improve? For example, your ad clickt hrough rate on your paid ads or contact form submissions.
M “measurable”. This gives you performance data. Performance data would be, you know, ad impressions, click through rates, conversions, things of that nature, spend.
A “achievable”. Is this a reasonable goal for your business? Think of that.
R being “relevant”. Does it make sense for your growth plan? And, then of course – T “timebound” that’s simply within a specified amount of time. Say, you know, six months or 12 months. You know, you don’t have to be generic or cloudy with this. Be specific. That’s why. That way, you have a target and you know where you’re going. And, then, of course when you’ve gotten there. Right? You have a map.
Next – Who’s the authority in the decision making of your marketing? These are your stakeholders. Is it you? Is it someone else? You know? If you’re micro business, it could totally be you. Or, maybe you have a Board of Directors. You know, it runs the range.
Determine who is going to have a say in your planning as well as who will understand the value of the outcomes. OK, so you want to make sure these Members are all engaged as best they can be in the planning, because that’s what gets you the buy and that you need for budget, right?
OK, this is the big, big one. Serious consideration needs to be placed here and this is a question that comes up extremely often. You know “What? What should my marketing budget be?”
People will call us and I’ll talk to them, and we’re brainstorming ideas and strategies with them… I’ll say “What’s your marketing budget and what’s your timeline?” And they’ll often say “Well, you tell me.”. And, I have to come back and say, “No. You tell me!”. Because I really, you know, I don’t know this information about your company.
So, a lot of people don’t really know where to start here. So here are some sort of Rules of Thumb that I want to share with you guys, OK?
Two ways to look at this budget thing.
First approach – that we’re looking at now. This is for businesses that have not been measuring their performance data, but you know your revenue.
So maybe you didn’t realize it was possible to measure performance data. Or, maybe you just didn’t. Or, maybe your analytics programs aren’t set up correctly and you don’t even have it, look at it or nothing’s being tracked. You know, no one thought about it. Whatever the case may be, if you don’t have that performance data, you do know what’s coming and going. So, you do have an idea for revenue.
This is the easiest way to do it. Use a percentage of your gross revenue.
Alright, so the rule of thumb here would be 12 to 20% of gross. If you’re a new company, your, you know you’re getting started. You need to establish your brand and reputation for yourself 12 to 20%.
If you’re an established company, and you’re – you already have that reputation. You already have some word of mouth and you have some established clients. You can back that down to 6 to 12% of your gross revenue.
Now there are some competitive factors that will contribute here. If you’re in a more competitive industry we always suggest you go to the higher end of that range. That 12 to 20% or that 6 to 12% go towards a higher end of the range. If you’re very competitive ’cause you’re going to need that boost.
Also, you may have a seasonal business. You know maybe you’re a landscaping company or you know, uh, I don’t know a snow blower. Whatever it is.
If you have some seasonality to your business, you’re gonna have to shift that spend and that budget throughout to account for this seasonality. But these percentages are really good starting point.
Second approach is the Budget Calculator.
This uses your growth goals according to historic Performance data and digs deeper into the math of it.
Now, you have to have the performance data here to do this OK? To take this second approach. There are multiple steps. But, you have to have that performance data so you can go through the steps you use to ultimately determine what your budget should be.
- Let’s imagine that your marketing team wants to acquire 50 new customers. OK, that’s, that’s the the SMART goal. 50 new customers.
To determine that number, you’re going to 1st need to know your average cost per lead. This is how much you spend to acquire a new customer.
Divide the total amount spent on a specific amount of marketing. A type of marketing, rather. So, let’s say Google Ads, since we’re talking about paid ads today. Let’s say Google Ads. This applies to all marketing, but you can subset it.
So, divide the total amount spent on the specific type of marketing that you’re looking to budget. Divide that by the number of leads generated by that marketing previously. And that’s going to equal your average cost per lead, what that marketing got for you – cost per lead.
Next, Step 2. What’s your average conversion rate? This is the second number to determine.
Once again, using that performance data, this is the rate at which those leads actually converted and became paying customers.
So, the formula here is the number of conversions which you will see in your performance data, AKA paying customers, divided by the number of leads generated by that marketing type. Which equals, you got it – the average conversion rate!
Now we’re going to take this and determine our annual budget.
So how many, how many leads do we need?
First, determine the number of leads your company needs in order to reach X number of new customers. In this example, we’re gonna go for 50 new customers, OK?
You can do this by dividing your new customer goal of 50 new customers with your average conversion rate.
Plug in your own numbers based on your business size and needs. In this example, we want 50 new customers, and we’ve determined that we have a 20% conversion rate. So that means we need 250 leads to get that.
How much is this going to cost us? OK, last, this is the last piece of the budget puzzle.
So, determine how much it will cost to generate that 250 new leads that you need.
We’re going to multiply that goal to get the average cost for lead. So here we go. Let’s say your average cost per lead is $100. 250 leads times $100 average cost for a lead, equals $25,000 dollar annual budget.
So, basically in order to get those 50 new customers, your company should plan to spend at least $25,000 in marketing. You know that works out to around 2K per month. Obviously, your money and your budget may vary.
This is merely an example. But, this is why having measurables in place is so important. The performance data you bring in and track is directly related to much of your decision-making.
Now. There is a lot of information here and multiple formulas and I get that. So, we’re going to have all of this – will have these slides posted on our SEO Rocket blogs and our SEO Rocket YouTube channel later, so you can refer to them.
I know we totally went through them very quickly, but they will be there in a few days for you to refer back if you need to.
I just wanted to make sure that we got these concepts and formulas introduced and shared with you so that you would have them.
Alright, last but not least. And, then we’ll get to digital paid ads.
This is still part of our getting ready to run those ads – our pre-launch. Last of our prelaunch is our Timeline.
Consider your timeline. So, there are both long range and short term tactics that may be part of your plan.
Short term tactics – these are those tactics that you can apply within weeks or months. You can get fast results with these. If that’s a priority for you, then paid search advertising, paid ads as we’re talking about today are great short term tactics to employ. You can use those short term along with long term, but you can get them up and going within weeks.
The Google My Business Profile is an excellent starting point if you’re a local business. In fact, if you’re a local business, I would say it’s a requirement to get that fleshed out and completely filled out and maximized. That’s something that we talked about in our local SEO webinar last month. If you want to revisit that, it’s on our YouTube channel.
If you’re looking at the long term – use tactics you apply months to years and ongoing. You know that’s where your SEO efforts come in. That’s where review generation comes in. Content creation.
All these things are very important to keep in mind and look at in your overall marketing plan. They all play a role. Some just have a quicker start than others.
And I would always say too that the best way to stay connected here with all your goals is by maintaining that constant line of communication between your stakeholders and any other marketing team members you have. And, then also to any marketing service partners or vendors or freelancers that you’re working with. Keeping everyone in the loop and within the conversation is the best way to make sure that nothing gets left out and everything gets promoted properly and in its own time.
OK wow, so we have blown through our prelaunch checklist and we are ready for Sean to start with his paid ads discussion.
Sean, I’m gonna give you control and let you go ahead and get started when you’re ready. So just let me know when you have control of the mouse.
Sean Browne – Digital Paid Ads Strategy
Sean Browne: Alright, it looks like it. Thank you, Angela.
Working well. Hello again everybody! let’s go right into it.
So, we’ll start this section by going over some of the benefits of paid ads compared with other forms of digital marketing.
So, for starters, you’ve got more control and targeting options. What this means is paid ads provides you with more control and detailed targeting options that allow you to determine when your ads are shown, where they can appear and who you want to see your ads.
There are also faster results as Angela mentioned with the timeline slide. Paid ads start generating results within a fairly short period of time. You will start to see results within a few days or weeks of launching a new campaign. While other methods such as SEO can take a couple of months of consistent work before notable results will start to show up and you really get that payout that you can come back and say “Hey! Look how well this is going.”
There is flexible pricing so paid ads will adapt as best as they can to your budget and you can tailor your strategy and your network selection to fit your budget.
So, you do want to make sure that you have enough of a starting budget so you can gather enough data to make educated decisions. A common trap of paid ads is that people will start with too small of a budget and they can’t get enough data to get meaningful results and make educated decisions. So, they just dismiss it as “Oh paid ads didn’t work well.” You may have not put enough resources in right at the front.
And finally, there’s expanded reach. Paid ads can reach beyond the search engine results where organic SEO and local SEO appears. And can appear in various other places – such as social media platforms and even other websites.
Additionally, if your business is trying to reach people in a service area or in nearby cities, regions, or states outside of where your business is located specifically, then paid ads give you a quick way to expand that visibility without having to build up all of those other signals that indicate that you have a presence outside of your starting area.
Next up are the paid marketing types, so we’ll be going over the basic paid marketing types, which, in a nutshell, are search marketing, also known as SEM, paid social marketing and display marketing.
So Search Marketing ads appear in front of searchers on sites like Google or Bing or Yahoo and other search engines or search partners. What that means is if a site has elected to have Google supplement their site search, some websites will do this. You may be able to see your ads on those sites, search functions.
Paid Social ads, as their name implies, appear on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
And, then finally Display Marketing ads are primarily visual ads that can appear throughout the internet on sites like You Tube. News sites, and various other sites have elected to show ads in order to generate some additional revenue.
Each of these different paid marketing types is better equipped to handle different stages of the marketing funnel or the buyer’s journey than others. So ideally, you want your paid marketing strategy to have touchpoints at each stage of that journey, so you can keep your brand, your products and services on the customer’s mind.
And speaking of the marketing funnel, here is a basic form of the marketing funnel. There are some variations that have more stages or subsections. But, for our purposes we’ll be sticking with and kind of delving into these three stages. Three very high level stages which are awareness, evaluation or consideration and conversion or action.
So, starting off the first stage is “Awareness”. This is the point where potential customers are realizing that they have a problem and they’re starting to look for a solution. So this stage is very high level. It has the broadest reach of the entire buyer’s journey and things tend to not be quite as focused at this stage.
So, what you want to focus on in this particular level of the funnel is addressing a couple of basic needs, namely, a customer is saying “Hey, I have a problem and I need something to solve that problem.”.
So, a good example are my carpets right now are looking a little dingy. I’m noticing it more being stuck at home more often. I’ve got 3 pets so it just kind of comes with the territory. So, I started searching for tips on how to clean carpets. And as you can see from the results the screenshot there is a video on how to clean them myself. But, there was also an ad that appeared above that video.
That gets me thinking maybe I don’t need to do it myself. And, frankly, I would rather not because I’m pretty sure that a professional can do a better job than I can.
Now an alternative item to address at this particular level of the funnel is “I didn’t know I needed that.” And what that means is where you, as an advertiser, are both introducing a problem and a solution at the same time. So, for example, scrolling through Facebook earlier in this year when COVID was really starting to hit its stride I noticed an ad for some anti fog glasses wipes.
So, I don’t wear glasses all the time. But, I do wear sunglasses frequently when I go out and about. My wife wears glasses all the time. So until then I was aware that the masks were going to fog up my glasses, but I just thought, “Hey, you know it’s just part of the process. It’s part of what we’re going to have to live with.”. But, that ad brought the issue back to my attention and it also provided me with a pretty simple solution for that issue that works pretty well. So that was a neat find.
Next up is “Evaluation”. This is the point where customers are narrowing down their options. They know what they need or want and are now seeing who has the best offer that fits their circumstances. So that could be somebody who’s price shopping. Or if there are specific service or product features that they’re looking for, somebody who has the best reviews and various other aspects that would make your business stand out from your competition.
So, the key areas that you want to focus on at this stage are your unique selling propositions and kind of showcasing offers in a way that will appeal to these different customer groups and resonate with these different customer groups. Like if you can offer discounts and things like that, or if you do a particular variant of a task better than somebody else. For example, going back to my carpet cleaning search, I’ve determined that I would rather hire somebody to do it myself, and to me, price is a very important factor. So, I’ve searched for affordable carpet cleaning and I’ve seen a couple of options appear in the results. That first one seems like it could be pretty good. It’s the top result, so it got my attention. That’s taking up more space. But, that second one says that they do two areas and a free hall for only $99. Well, I looked for affordable carpet cleaning and you’ve just given me what seems like a pretty reasonable price. Now, granted, I haven’t shopped around yet, but that sounds pretty good to me.
So, from there, the lowest level of the funnel is “Conversion”. This is the point where potential customers have narrowed down their best options and are ready to finalize that choice. At this stage, you really want to focus on creating a positive buying experience.
So, they’ve clicked on your ad. They’ve gone to your website to buy something or to reach out to get a request for service or request for quote. So, you want to make sure that your site is working really well and that your purchase or lead generation process is really straightforward. So, you don’t want a really, really long form if somebody’s coming in on a mobile device because they’re not going to want to scroll endlessly and fill out a bunch of fields just to get a request for a quote. But, this is also the point at which you have a chance to add that customers information into your records for some cross selling opportunities or upselling opportunities in the future.
So, at the very end of my carpet cleaning search that $99 offer is just too good for me to pass up. So, I’ve clicked on the ad right away. I see their site has made it super simple to reach out. They have said “Hey call us today.” That’s their big call to action on their landing page. Great, I know exactly what they want me to do and I do a little bit more digging. I like to look around and research before I finalize my decision. And, I see that they also have a 4.9 star rating on Google with almost 200 reviews, which is really comforting. That means a lot of people seem to be really happy with their service. And then the big old cherry on top of the whole process is they’ve got a special for new customers. $10 off your first cleaning service! I’m pretty well sold at this point with all of those factors!
Next up, we’ll be talking about some of the most popular paid marketing channels. So for starters we have what is probably one of the best known – Google Ads.
Google Ads is a very versatile platform that contains many different mechanisms to capture searcher attention throughout the marketing funnel. It offers display and video formats that can appear on YouTube and on over 2 million websites that are part of the Google Adsense network. Those are those sites that have elected to show ads to generate some revenue, and that is really, really nicely suited for that awareness level of the funnel. But it also offers search and shopping formats that can work well throughout different stages of the funnel, and these ads can appear in the Google app, Google search results, on the Google Shopping tab and also in those search partner sites. So in general, Google ads is pretty business to customer focused. But it can work really nicely for business to business advertising.
If you have the right messaging, the right calls, there’s what used to be called Bing Ads, now under the nomenclature of Microsoft ads. So, Microsoft Ads offers search and shopping formats that can appear in the Bing search results or on the Bing Shopping tab which is very similar to Google and throughout Microsoft’s Partner network that includes different sites such as things that are included on AOL’s Network on Verizon’s network, and so on.
And while it doesn’t have a display network Microsoft ads does have some pretty unique targeting features that Google lacks. For example, Microsoft ads can tap into LinkedIn profile targeting to give you some better B2B targeting. In general, Microsoft ads is also pretty customer focused, but with that LinkedIn profile targeting it can be a really useful tool for B to B advertisers. But, it does account for a smaller portion of general search traffic than Google.
Next is Facebook Ads. So, with Facebook ads they can appear throughout Facebook and Instagram and will typically utilize really strong visual ads, assets and promoted posts to catch people’s attention while they’re scrolling through their feeds. These ads are really, really nice for appealing to that “I didn’t know I needed that mentality.” and can result in some impulse buys depending on the product or service. I am certainly guilty of seeing a couple of things on Facebook that caught my attention.
That I did not know existed and I just kind of went ahead and bought them. I mean, like the orbit key advertisement. Admittedly, that’s one that I kind of impulse bought because I can’t stand key rings.
So that aside, Facebook ads also works really well for introducing novel products or services that are so new they’re not widely searched for on platforms like Google or Bing. They have a really nice benefit of they can keep your brand and your products and services at the forefront of customers minds as they are doing their casual daily scrolling.
In general, Facebook ads are very B2C focused. There can be some B2B, but it really, really is more oriented toward the customer at this level.
Next up and very similar to Facebook ads in some regards is Twitter ads. The similarities are that Twitter ads commonly use visual assets to catch user attention while people are scrolling through their Twitter feed and getting caught up on all the latest gossip. Along with the visuals, there are also promoted tweets. There are promoted accounts, promoted trends and promoted moments that allow businesses to respond to current hot topics and trends whenever they’re appropriate, and occasionally, when they’re not appropriate. So, that can be a little bit of a pitfall also similar to Facebook ads.
Twitter ads are really good for appealing to that “I didn’t know I needed that.” crowd and they can keep your brand and your product fresh in the customers’ minds.
And then, finally, we’ve got LinkedIn ads. As everyone knows, or as I’m assuming most people know at this point, LinkedIn is the professional social media networking site. And its advertising is very well suited for B to B advertisers. LinkedIn ads are very versatile and they can appear throughout the LinkedIn feed.
LinkedIn uses visual assets, but it can also serve promoted posts and text ads since a lot of Linkedin’s audience is sharing or looking for informational and educational content, not necessarily looking for a product to purchase or a service to purchase.
And the real beauty of LinkedIn ads is that they have very detailed targeting options that are based on the user’s industry, their position, and whether or not they’re currently searching for a new job. And other features like that. The downside is that all of that detailed targeting comes at a cost. LinkedIn is probably one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, ad platform in terms of average cost. So before embarking on LinkedIn ads, you want to make sure that you have a substantial budget.
So now that you have an overview of the major paid networks and who they can reach, you may be wondering which network you should be using.
So, to figure that out, you are going to need to define your audience.
Understanding your audience will help you decide what kind of ad formats you can use, what kind of keywords you should utilize, audiences you should be targeting and how best to target those potential customers.
So. a good starting point for this process is to utilize or create Audience Personas.
So, when creating an audience persona, consider the following questions. What do your customers want or need? That harkens back to trying to address things in that awareness stage. What motivates company customers? Are they motivated by their budget? Are they family oriented? Are they other business owners? How are customers searching? What kind of queries or terms are they typing into Google or Bing when they’re trying to find information? Or are they searching at all? Some may not be.
And then, where are your customers spending their time online? Are they researching things on Google or they idly scrolling through Facebook? These are all very important considerations. But the key point of this is to make sure that you’re lining up your marketing goals and your buyer personas with your paid ad options.
To address the “How are your customers searching?” portion of your audience persona and creation process, you will need to do keyword research.
Keyword research helps you to determine what terms searchers are using to find information on a topic and how often those terms are used. So, keywords can give you some insight into the intent behind a search or what your audience is seeking, such as solutions or information.
So, to start off, you want to form a list of starting, or what we call “seed”, keywords based on your brand and what your business offers. So, these could be services. If you’re an air conditioning professional, you may say air conditioning repair, or you may include your company’s brand name.
And then once you’ve created that list, you want to use tools to validate that research. So, each paid platform has its own built-in tools that can help you. So, the examples that we got here are from Google Ads on the very top, which is the keyword planner which can help you discover some new keyword options. Or, it can provide you with search volume data and forecasts for how those keywords may perform in the future based off of past data.
And there are also really useful paid tools like SEM Rush which is featured below which can provide you with more detailed information for both paid advertising mechanisms and organic keyword research. So you are paying for the tool, but you’re getting more out of it than you might necessarily get from some of the built-in things.
But the really important thing to remember about this part of the process is, while keywords are useful, remember your target audience.
In recent years, paid platforms have made addressing audience intent way more important than the keyword selection that was used to get them there.
And just because the keyword is commonly used in-house at your company or by your industry doesn’t mean that searchers are going to be looking for it. It doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to be typing in, so consider variations. Consider what is a more common nomenclature for what you do as part of this keyword research.
In addition to keyword research, competitor research is incredibly important for developing a paid ad strategy. So, it is critical to know who your competitors are and what they’re doing with their own paid ad strategy. Analyzing their strategies can help you save time and money by giving you an idea of what has worked well for them and what really hasn’t panned out?
It can also uncover marketing gaps that you can exploit with your ads. Maybe you see the competitors are bidding on a lot of different things, but there’s a particular niche of the industry that you take care of that nobody is bidding on. That could be a golden opportunity for you to shine among your other competition.
Also, when doing competitor research, remember to punch in your weight class.What this means is going after competitors who are most similar to your business. So consider the following – which financial cost? Yeah, which potential competitors are most like you in scale? You’re probably not going to be Amazon. You’re probably not going to be Walmart. But, you might be able to go toe to toe with another local competitor.
What kind of message are they using? Check out their ad copy. Check out their offers, check out their landing pages. What are they saying? What kind of wordings are they using? Beg, borrow and steal. Take advantage of the work that they have done to make your life easier – but paraphrase. You don’t want to be an exact copycat either.
How aggressively are they bidding or targeting?
Are they investing way more money than you can afford to? Do you see their ads everywhere? Are their ads really targeting areas and the keywords that they should be? This is all important information. And finally, which marketing platforms are they using? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Twitter? On LinkedIn?
So during the research, if you find that what your business offers isn’t in alignment with what your competitors are doing or offering, then maybe they aren’t the right competitor to focus on, and maybe you need to take a step back and see who else is on the playing field.
And like with keyword research, you want to take advantage of tools to help you identify your competition and their tactics. So, each platform has some additional built-in tools to help you identify and research competitors. For example, Google ads has auction insights that can show you how often your competitors’ ads are competing with your ads and how often they can be seen.
You may also want to consider investing in paid tools like Spyfu or for social Sprout Social or SEM Rush. Again, for more in-depth competitor analysis than what the built-in tools can provide.
The important thing to remember with those is those tools won’t reveal all of your competitors’ methods, but they do provide some pretty solid insight. The only way to 100% know what a competitor is doing would be to actually log into their account and see what they’re doing. And unfortunately, I don’t think most of them are willing to give you that peek behind the curtain.
Better research and keyword research work together to influence each other. They’re both critical components to formulating an effective paid ad strategy. You may find that throughout your process of formulating your strategy, you may need to revisit one or the other and refine things.
Once you have researched your audience, your competitors and created your list of seed keywords, you need to plan the execution of your strategy.
So, consider the following.:
- How well do you understand these concepts in the different paid ad platforms?
- Do you feel like you have a good grasp on which option is going to best fit your goals?
- Are there parts of the process that still convert or are confusing?
- Do you need to do more research on the different platforms?
- How far can you extend your resources to support your paid marketing?
The resources you want to take into consideration, of course, are things like your initial budget, which may determine where you start with your ads and how you can start. How much you can afford to start with.
How much time do you have to create, manage and adapt for paid marketing? Effective paid marketing requires time to analyze data and make adjustments based on that data. That also ties back into time as a resource that is important to take into consideration. Then, finally who will be responsible for creating and refining these assets like ad copy or ad creatives or landing pages for these ads.
All of these components are important to determine the scale and the scope of paid marketing that you can start with and when, or if, you should expand your efforts. It can also help determine whether you can do it yourself or whether you have an internal team that will handle it or whether you should outsource. Outsource the efforts to an agency.
Next up, as Angela noted early on, you need to be measuring your efforts and results. Measurement is absolutely key to determining if your paid market strategy is on the right track or if something needs to be changed. You don’t know what you’re not measuring.
A good way to do this is – again -by using tools to gain insight into your users’ journey and to ensure what you’re doing is lining up with your marketing goals. Some of your options are platform insight tools. As noted before, each marketing platform has built-in insight tools that can help you evaluate your campaign and ad performance. These will show you how efficiently you’re running your ads and how people are interacting with them, but that’s really only half the picture.
The other half of the picture you can see once people have clicked through to your website. And you can see that portion using Google Analytics to help complete that picture. Analytics is a free tool that helps you measure how users have interacted with your website.
Every website should be using analytics. It is free. It is incredibly useful, and if you’re doing Google Ads it is very easy to link up with Google Ads and share information between the two.
And then another thing to take into consideration are customer relationship management tools. Things like Salesforce and HubSpot; which will collect customer data from multiple channels and can help connect the dots with that customer data throughout the entire funnel.
Salesforce, for example, also integrates into Google ads, so that could be an added bonus to help connect things together. But, usually these tools do cost some extra money.
And so, fast forward into the future. You’ve made your plan. You’ve got your first campaign up and running. That’s awesome. Things are looking solid.
But you can’t rest easy just yet.
Work will continue after your campaign has gone live. There are many things that you need to keep up with and take into consideration. Once your campaign is active, you will need to analyze and understand your data overtime. Audience trends will naturally change overtime. But, they can be accelerated by what’s going on. Like COVID-19 threw everybody for a loop. There are a lot of people that are still struggling to try and figure out how to adapt their marketing strategy to that.
Or there may be seasonality to your industry. Or, you may end up having to revisit your audience targeting or your keyword options for other various reasons.
Beyond that, your audience may develop ad fatigue and that occurs when they begin to tune out ads that they’ve seen before. That’s probably very common. If you’ve ever scrolled through a web page and you just completely ignore the ads that are popping up between the content bits, that is basically ad fatigue. And it is especially common with visual ads.
So, to fight that you need to test new ad copy and ad creatives or refresh existing ad copy and ad creatives to see what is still working well and what needs improvement.
And then the final note is that the digital paid ads landscape is an everchanging, ever evolving thing? There are new tools, new targeting options, new rules, new policies that are constantly coming and going. So, you really want to take time to educate yourself on these changes if you want to keep succeeding with this information and with your paid marketing strategy.
And with that we have basically reached the end of the presentation!
I know there was a lot of information. I hope that everybody was able to take some good nuggets of knowledge from it.
With that, I will hand it back to Angela.
Angela McAfee – Moderating
Alright, great, thank you Sean. I will look for that to come over… Control to come over and I’ll get our cameras back up so we can answer questions.
Thank you so much for sharing that. Those are… And guys these are all the things that the pros consider when they’re putting their plans together. So I certainly appreciate Sean giving us that peek behind the curtain and the walk through. There we go. OK, I’m back up.
Here I am. Yeah, there you are. Yeah, so I appreciate you giving us that peek behind the curtain. So guys these are things that we really do think about when we are putting together paid search strategies, uh, paid ad strategies rather, for our clients. This is part of the process that Sean goes through when he’s working with each of them.
So I hope that’s helpful for you to solve some of those mysteries and what, what the thinking is and how to step through that.
Any questions? We love questions! We have a couple that are in so we’ll go ahead and start answering those. ’cause we’re right on time for question answering, let’s see.
Question by Angela: OK Sean, these are all for you. But, first… OK, what do you recommend to get the most return on investment or conversions from the ads? What are your recommendations for ROI and high conversions?
Sean: Well, if you are managing your ads properly, anything that you can do to improve your conversion rate is going to have a nice impact on your ROI. Things like aligning your target audience, your ad creatives, and the landing page experience, and making sure that all the messaging is consistent and the experience is really easy to work with. So, you also want to make sure that you’re keeping your goals in mind and that you’re tracking things. I cannot emphasize the measurement portion enough. So, for example, if you’re trying to get people to fill out a service request form on your site, you want to make sure that your ads are going to have, you know, request or quote request service as your call to action on your ads. When you’re clicking through your site, you want to make sure that form is noticeable but easy to use and that your site is loading quickly and works well on mobile devices. Because, otherwise that’s that user could end up bouncing right back out of your site before they’ve filled anything out. So, just making sure that everything is playing nicely together and working smoothly.
Question by Angela: OK. One more, actually two more. How often should I make changes to my ads?
Sean: It depends. Well, in the case of Google ads in general, Google’s rule of thumb is you want to spend… or you want to give changes 14 to 21 days to settle. In ideal circumstances that gives the system algorithm time to learn from those changes and kind of assess the results and make choices. But there are certain circumstances like with search ads where you may need to go in every week an add more negative keywords so you’re not bidding for things that you shouldn’t be triggering ads for. Or, if you’re using like a manual bidding strategy, you may need to adjust the bids for your keywords and then social ads will also require a bit more attention and more frequent attention because there’s that interactive element. You know people can like and comment and share your ads and your promoted content and posts and whatnot. So, you may need to invest more time to keep up with your social media audience in that capacity. You know it helps establish that rapport with your audience, which is really important for business images.
Angela: OK, that’s a pretty thorough answer. Thank you and one more last but not least, I guess we always have to say. And I like this one ’cause this one comes up a lot.
Question by Angela: Your thoughts on bidding on my competitor’s brand?
Sean: Ah well, there are different schools of thought on that. It can be a good strategy if you have the budget to support it and you plan it out correctly. The important thing to keep in consideration is your competitors always going to have an advantage for its own brand terms. Just like you will always have an advantage for your own brand terms. But, there are definitely pros and cons to it. On the positive side, if you were bidding on competitor terms, it can boost your brand awareness because then people start associating you with the same services that your competitor offers and it can help promote the products and services that you have in common. They may find that you’re the better option for them.
But the flip side of that is going after a competitor is probably going to result in a relatively low clickthrough rate for your ads. So, the number of people who are clicking on your ads will be a lot lower, and it’s probably going to be more expensive since a lot of the people who are searching for your competitor have probably already made up their minds realistically. If they clicked through to your site and they see that you’re not offering the exact same thing as your competitor, or they uh just have some brand loyalty with the competitor, you may have spent money on the click. But, you may not end up getting the ultimate sale or service agreement out of it.
Angela: – OK, so ultimately would you say to give it a try and see where it goes or…
Sean: If you know if you have solid content and you’ve done your homework on your competitors’, and you feel like you have a pretty good shot of taking them on, and the budget to support it, I would say give it a chance. But do be careful and if your budgets tight, I would advise against it OK? But, it can be worth experimenting with.
Angela: Word to the wise, if your budget is tight, he advises against it. If it’s not, you have room to play. Go forward.
Yeah, OK great. Well that is it for our questions. Thank you so much for asking those and we certainly appreciate them. You can always email us. Reach out to us and send us any more that you may have come up afterwards that you that pop into your head.
I want to let you know we have another webinar coming up next month, November 18th. This is pretty exciting. This is another in our series of strategy in our strategy series here. This one is how to drive your social media marketing like a pro.
Once again we have an expert! A pro who will be joining us. That’s Emily Wasserman. She’s a digital marketing consultant here and she is near and dear to our hearts. We love her. She’s very experienced and knowledgeable and I’m very much looking forward to having her with us next month on November 18th. Please join us! We would love to have you again. This should clear up those social media marketing mysteries there.
Also, for this webinar, as long as… well as, all of our other webinars and future webinars are on our SEO Rocket, or will be rather, on our SEO Rocket YouTube channel. You can go there. I believe it’s youtube.com/the SEO Rocket. Go there and look for it. This one should be up on Friday.
While you’re there, go ahead and click on that little bell icon and that will notify you whenever we post a new video or a new webinar so, you’ll just get a notification in your email that that’s there. You may want to save yourself some time and go ahead and click that bell icon so you can get that.
So, I guess we can let you guys go ahead and get your lunch. By the way, real quick – there is a survey at the end with really brief questions, one of which is how we’re doing and the second one is what would you like to see more of, get more information about. So, please feel free to take the time and we certainly appreciate getting that feedback from you.
I wanna thank you so much for joining us today. We very much appreciate your time. I hope it is the most up for you and you learned something. Sean and I for now are signing off.
Goodbye everyone! Thanks for being here. Bye, thanks for coming. We’ll see you… Bye bye